The Northern Illinois football team closed out its first week of camp with an early wake-up call Saturday at Huskie Stadium.
The Huskies hit the practice field at 8:30 a.m. for the first of six scheduled two-a-day practices this summer. NIU head coach Dave Doeren was pleased with his team’s overall performance on the day.
“I was happy with the way they battled for the first two-a-day,” Doeren said. “This morning, the offense and the defense didn’t come out the way I wanted them to. We had a really physical practice yesterday, and we asked them to have another one today. I just didn’t think we were there. This afternoon, we had a really good afternoon practice. So that was good to see.”
Northern Illinois worked out for 20 periods in their second straight practice in full pads, this time with officials present. Brilliant sunshine and cool temps provided perfect conditions for NIU’s sixth practice of the season. Situational drills were the order of the day.
After six periods of individual work, the Huskie lines and backs went against each other during redzone inside drills in the south end zone, while the receivers and defensive backs went one-on-one at the other end of the field. The entire team then gathered together around midfield for first and 10 and third down situations, closing out the morning’s practice with goal line work.
NIU came out in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets for the afternoon session for a slightly longer practice, working for 22 periods. The Huskies spent several periods on seven-on-seven and team activities, finishing the day with a couple periods of the two-minute drill.
Now in his second season, Doeren is seeing what he expected to see out of his returning players. He has been impressed with the play of newcomer defensive tackle Ken Bishop (Sunrise, Fla./Piper) so far in camp. At 6-1, 308 pounds, Bishop, who came to NIU in January and competed in spring football, is a physical presence with a high motor.
“Ken Bishop picked up where he left off from the spring,” he said. “I think he’s really having a good camp, defensively. That’s probably the new guy that didn’t play last year that’s going to have the biggest impact.”
Northern Illinois returns to the practice field today for its second two-a-days of 2012 preseason camp. Practice No. 9 is slated for 4:30 p.m. The online position-by-position practice reports continue Monday with a look at the defensive backs.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.